New Year resolutions…
You will do it again this year!
You will spend all your money on “Christmas” items you will no longer want in the New Year.
And you will eat too much food and drink more than you intend. And these will show up on your butt and gut in unseemly proportions, four weeks into the New Year.
Embarrassed, anywhere between this New Year’s Eve and January 07, you will become contrite and remorseful and you will make New Year resolutions, designed to ensure it does not happen next year!
But you will either forget them by January 31 or you will tell yourself this time will be different. Then you will make another resolution to keep your previous resolutions…
But why do you make them at all?
Making resolutions is not a modern day thing.
The tradition goes all the way back to 153 B.C. when Janus, a mythical god of early Rome was placed at the head of the calendar.
With his two faces, Janus could looked back on past events and looked forward to the future, all at the same time.
Therefore, New Year is the only holiday that celebrates the passage of time.
And as one year closes and another opens, people become introspective and often make lofty but well-meaning resolutions. All intended to bring meaningful change in their lives.
However well-intended your resolutions are, research and reality show that a high percentage of these resolutions are not kept.
Whatever your reasons for not keeping your resolutions before, I’d like to show you how to keep them, beginning right now!
So I’m sharing with you, my 7 practical steps that for me are the best way to make New Year resolutions…and actually keep them!
These steps will not only help you to keep New Year resolutions but they will also help you set and reach any goal you want, any time of the year. What could be better for your self-development?
I will also throw in my secret SUPER “New Year” approach which helps me set goals quickly and achieve them faithfully.
I truly guarantee you, that if you apply these steps, you will keep your resolutions and reach your goals every time!
Are you ready? Then let’s begin…
1. Make your New Year resolution on a solid foundation
Okay now, time to fess up…What is the real reason that you are making a New Year’s resolution?
Let’s say it’s to lose weight.
Do you want to lose weight because you have considered all the health risks associated with being overweight and want to improve your health?
Or is it because that special someone in your life has decided what should be your ideal weight and wants you to be that weight?
When the purpose for your resolution comes from your desire to make changes to improve your life, you are more likely to be committed to making that resolution a reality.
When you’re “pushed” by external circumstances, like someone telling you what’s good for you, you’re actually making your resolutions on a “floating foundation.”
This means that the moment those circumstances are removed, the motivation to keep the resolution dies too.
So make your resolution on a solid foundation. Then you can build on it.
2. Write down your resolution clearly and precisely
So your New Year resolution is to make a lot of money next year. So you get on your knees and you pray: Dear God, I want to make a lot of money next year!”
Imagine God’s confusion! What is “a lot of money?” The amount is obviously different from individual to individual.
Is it $25,000? $100,000? Or $1million? Well it could be all of these or none of these depending on who is asking. And what is “next year?” Is it a year from your request date or is it during the next calendar year?
Writing down what you want to achieve clearly and precisely allows you to understand your goal and helps the Universe to guide you to towards the success skills that you must employ to achieve it.
Also, recording your goals, with pen and paper seems to fix them clearly in your mind and into the universe.
Therefore, instead of saying “I want to make a lot of money” or I want to lose some weight” try writing down “I want to make $100,000 by one year from today’s date” or I want to lose 15lbs over the next 6 months.
3. Understand and embrace what you need to change and learn
If you have never heard the saying “if you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got” you must have been living under a rock for the latter part of your life.
Clichéd as it is, it is also true. You cannot achieve a goal by setting it and continuing merrily along on a cloud of “wishfulness.”
Once you have written down your New Year’s resolution precisely and simply, then you have to decide what you must change, what you must do differently to achieve it.
I know what I’m talking about. I once made a New Year’s resolution to make a minimum of $25,000 each month for the next 12 months.
And that’s exactly what I wrote in my journal, patted myself on the back and continued on with my life.
What did I change? What did I try to learn? Nothing. Hey, my life was perfect I just needed some more money!
Guess what happened?
I did not achieve my goal. As a matter of fact, in a cruel twist of fate, I made less money that year than I did the year before!
Since then, I’ve not made a resolution or set a goal without trying to understand what new things I have to learn, what I have to stop doing or start doing. And you shouldn’t either.
Just remember, understanding and embracing what you have to change is not always easy but it is necessary.
So if you are going to give yourself even a tiny chance of keeping your resolution, you have to change something and learn something new.
4. Determine the personal attributes you will rely on
If you’re going to have a decent chance of keeping your resolutions, you will need to depend heavily on some already existing attributes or you will have to identify and develop some new, relevant ones.
Here are some of the ones that work for me.
1. Mindset. Having a positive mindset helps you to frame your goal in a positive manner from the very beginning. It also helps you to focus on the results you want and keeps you marching steadily towards your goal.
2. Repetition. First you develop the “new” behaviour. Then you repeat this behaviour until it moves from conscious thought to unconscious action. Very soon, with repetition, what was difficult at first becomes easy and after a while, you will wonder how you lived so long without it.
3. Discipline. For me, “discipline” is simply doing what must be done when it must be done. I can hear you saying that that’s easier said than done, and perhaps you’re right. But go back and read # 2 above because out of repetition comes discipline.
4. Commit to completion. There are times when the minute you set a goal, your mind starts to play tricks on you. It begins to give you a lot of reasons why you will not complete your goal. Committing to seeing a “project” through to the end is one way to counter this.
So go ahead, choose the personal attributes you will rely on to keep your New Year resolutions.
5. Outline your strategies keeping New Year resolutions
Okay…throw out the rabbit foot and take the good luck charm from under your pillow!
One of the best ways you can actually keep your New Year’s resolutions is to devise the step by step strategies which you will use to achieve them.
Staying with our examples, one strategy to help you lose weight might be to decide on menus for a week at a time. Another might be to not keep junk food around your home.
Earning $100,000 may require you to breakdown sales targets monthly, weekly or even daily. If you’re going the savings route, you will have to learn to make savings a “debt.”
Yes…you heard me correctly. This is how I treat my own savings and I also encourage my “financial” clients as well as my colleagues and friends to do this. It is also extremely spiritual.
Whatever your strategies are, you should do two things:
- Do not wait for the perfect circumstances to take action.
- Decide on the first small step you have to take and TAKE IT!
6. Get an Accountability Partner
I have accountability partners for all my goals and I believe that they increase my success rate at achieving my goals by as much as 45%.
Admittedly, I often wonder if it’s because I seem to pick “drill sergeants” for this role whether they are male or female!
Choose someone who has your best interest at heart and is strong or crazy enough to help keep you on track. If you sell it right, they can benefit too.
I usually encourage members of my Business Coaching Programmes to choose accountability partners from among themselves.
Not only has this helped to keep them focused on their goals, some of them have become great friends and have even collaborated on profitable projects.
7. Celebrate your successes
Along the way to you ultimate goal you will achieve many successes, big and small. Celebrate each one.
However, remember to match your reward to your success.
For example, just imagine losing your first 5lbs.
Are you prepared to let this go unnoticed? I say don’t…but don’t celebrate by going out to a sumptuous dinner! A new top or a new pair of gym socks will suffice.
Another example for you: please do not throw a party to celebrate when you reach your first quarter sales target.
If you do, what will you do when you achieve the target for the entire year? Blow the increase on a national event in the name of your business?
Celebrating your successes is a strategy that helps with the commitment to completion.
Acknowledging the “in between” points on the way to the major goal and matching the celebration to the achievement is an excellent motivation to help you stay with your goal to the end.
My secret SUPER “New Year” approach
I promised you I would throw in my SUPER “New Year” approach to setting and keeping goals, including resolutions.
What am I talking about?
Just between me and you, If I need to correct something in my life or achieve some goal, I don’t wait for for January 01, in any year. I resolve to do it right away and I give it its own “New Year.”
For example, if I want to improve, change or start something that really matters, and it’s the 15th of November, I declare that date the start of a “New Year” and make my resolution there and then.
These “New Years” do not have the high rate of failure that the traditional ones do and certainly not the public attention.
You see, because they are determined by you and not driven by a tradition, their success rate is almost 100%.
Now it’s your turn.
Go on and make your “New Year’s” resolutions any time you need to have significant change in your life. You will be in charge of your success, just like I am in charge of mine.
Next steps to making & keeping your New Year Resolutions
So there you have them!
My strategies for making New Year’s resolutions that you can actually keep! I know they work because I follow these steps whenever I set a goal or want to make change in my life.
Give them a try…won’t you? You’ll be pleasantly surprised at your success.
Happy New Year…whenever it begins!